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Gloves come off: NDP ties Kevin Falcon to unpopular Liberal cuts ahead of byelection


Ahead of a byelection that's expected to give new B.C. Liberal leader Kevin Falcon a seat at the provincial legislature, the NDP is on the attack, as part of a strategy to link him to past unpopular decisions.

Falcon is a former cabinet minister, and the NDP candidate for the Vancouver-Quilchena riding told reporters Thursday she was on the front lines when the Liberals under Gordon Campbell made significant social service cuts. That included money for sexual assault centres, dozens of which subsequently had to close.

Jeanette Ashe pointed out Falcon was at the cabinet table when that decision was made.

"We're here today to ask Kevin Falcon a simple question: Will you apologize for the cuts you made to women's sexual assault centres?" she said at press conference.

Hamish Telford, an associate professor in Political Science at the University of the Fraser Valley, told CTV News he wasn't surprised by the line of attack, noting the Campbell government instituted “fairly steep spending cuts across the board” in the early 2000s.

He suggested the NDP is likely trying to create an impression of the Liberal leader that will last into the next provincial election as well. 

"They're trying to define Kevin Falcon in a certain way, and hoping that that image will stick around for a couple of years," Telford added.

CTV News reached out to the Liberals but was told Falcon wasn't available. He's trying to secure the riding after Andrew Wilkinson, the party’s previous leader, quit.

The former MLA led the Liberals to a dismal showing in the last election. Falcon's message to voters: the party is listening to concerns and changing.

The NDP candidate is a Douglas College professor who's married to Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart.

Telford takes this as a sign the party is hoping to challenge Falcon.

"It is one of these urban ridings which I think is trending towards a more progressive position,” he said.

Also running for Vancouver-Quilchena are Conservative candidate Dallas Brodie, Green candidate Wendy Hayko and Libertarian candidate Sandra Filosof-Schipper. Election day is April 30. Top Stories

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